Last week, The Daily Wire reported that the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) had been stripped of receiving donations from both Visa and Mastercard under pressure from the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center, which had previously labeled the conservative think tank a hate group. After intense backlash from several media outlets, the two credit card companies have retracted their ban on the DHFC.
"We're under attack by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)," the DHFC said in an email to supporters last week. "For years, the SPLC has labeled the Freedom Center a hate group and tried to get organizations like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter to ban us and silence our message. Yesterday, SPLC finally convinced MasterCard and Visa to cut us off. Now we can't process donations from any major credit card companies."
The ban came immediately after Freedom Center employee Robert Spencer, editor-in-chief of Jihad Watch, had been kicked off the funding platform Patreon under pressure from Mastercard. Spencer has been in the SPLC's crosshairs for years due to his strong criticism of radical Islam.
According to Breitbart News, an investigation into communications between Mastercard and payment processor Wordplay revealed the two outlets allegedly accusing the DHFC of "advocating for violence" while referencing the left-wing website bloodmoney.org. Before the DHFC could take retaliatory legal action, both Wordplay and Mastercard reversed the ban.
"Recently, we became aware of some merchants that had processing services inadvertently disabled without the proper internal reviews. Which was the case in this situation," a Wordplay spokesman told Breitbart. "These merchants have had or are in the process of having their services re-enabled."
“We understand that the acquirer — the merchant’s bank — has reinstated acceptance," Mastercard stated. "As part of our normal process, the acquirer reviews each case to determine what action to take.”
While the DHFC had not been receiving payments from Visa, reports indicate that Wordplay operated independently without Visa requesting that they stall payments to the organization. "Visa does not have direct relationships with merchants or websites that accept Visa payments," the company told Breitbart. "We require the merchant’s bank to know their customers and ensure that only legal transactions are submitted to the Visa network. The merchant’s banks may also have their own Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) governing their merchant relationship."
In a lengthy statement, David Horowitz thanked conservative media outlets for leading the fight against companies trying to censor his organization.
"While the Freedom Center is glad to have won this recent battle against the left’s effort to shut it down, as we’ve noted we believe the threat to free speech is greater than our particular case and also very much far from over," said Horowitz. "The enemies of free speech may have been rebuffed this time, but they feel that they have the winning hand and will continue to play it until America has become a one-party state of the politically correct with conservative views ruthlessly suppressed."